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President Trump Attacks Debt Relief for Puerto Rico; Could Influence Upcoming June 11 Vote on Independence or Statehood (April 27, 2017, 02:39 PM)

On April 27, President Donald Trump tweeted opposition to bailing out Puerto Rico from its financial crisis. See this story. The story does not mention that on June 11, Puerto Rico voters will be asked to choose independence (or virtual independence) or statehood. The option for the status quo is not on the ballot. It is difficult to predict how Trump’s attitude might affect the vote.

North Carolina Senate Passes Bill Easing Ballot Access (April 27, 2017, 12:00 PM)

On Wednesday, April 26, the North Carolina Senate unanimously passed SB 656, by Senator Andrew Brock. It lowers the number of signatures from 2% of the last gubernatorial vote to exactly 10,000. It also lowers the statewide independent petition to 5,000. See this story.

Bills have to pass in their house of origin by April 27, in order to remain alive. Thanks to Kevin Hayes for this news.

Oklahoma Ballot Access Improvement Bills Delayed Until 2018 (April 27, 2017, 11:33 AM)

April 27 is the deadline for Oklahoma bills that have passed the house of origin to also have passed the other house. Neither of the two bills that improve ballot access will be brought up in the House on April 27. Both bills had passed the Senate and all House committees with almost no opposition, but they can’t pass in 2017. Oklahoma has two-year legislative sessions, so both bills will be alive during 2018.

SB 145 eliminates mandatory petitions for independent presidential candidates and the presidential nominees of unqualified parties. SB 350 makes it easier for a party to remain on the ballot.

California Bill for a March Primary for All Office Passes Assembly Elections Committee (April 26, 2017, 04:01 PM)

On April 26, the California Assembly Elections Committee passed AB 84, which moves the primary for all office to March, in presidential years. A similar bill, SB 568, passed the Senate Elections Committee last week.

Texas Legislative Committee Takes Testimony on Ballot Access Bill (April 26, 2017, 03:29 PM)

On the evening of April 24, Monday, the Texas House Elections Committee heard testimony on HB 3068, which improves ballot access for minor parties and independent candidates. Supporting the bill were representatives of America’s Party, the Green Party, and the Libertarian Party. The committee will vote some time later on whether to pass the bill. Thanks to Jim Riley for this news.

Colorado Newspaper Story on Continuing Saga of the 2016 ?Disobedient? Presidential Electors (April 26, 2017, 02:54 PM)

The Colorado Independent has this interesting story about the presidential electors in 2016 who struggled to assert their right to vote for any qualified presidential candidate in the electoral college. The story says that the one elector who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton may yet be indicted, even though he was expelled as a elector at the meeting of the electoral college. The story also summarizes the current court proceedings. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

Eighth Circuit Remands Arkansas Lawsuit Over March Petition Deadline for Non-Presidential Independent Candidates (April 26, 2017, 01:33 PM)

On April 26, the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in Moore v Martin, 15-3558. The issue is the March petition deadline for non-presidential independent candidates. The U.S. District Court had upheld that deadline. The Eighth Circuit says that more facts are needed to settle the case, and sends it back to the U.S. District Court.

The independent petition deadline had been in May, until 2013, when it was moved to March.

The state had argued that it needs a March petition deadline for independent candidates, because it must check initiative petitions later in the year and it must get the independent candidate petitions checked early so as to give itself lots of time to check initiative petitions. Initiative petitions are due in July. Therefore, on remand, the court is supposed to learn “What periods of time, between the former May 1 deadline for independent candidate petitions and the early July deadline for initiative petitions, were available for the state to process independent candidate petitions.” Also, the lower court must now establish “when independent candidate petitions were in fact processed in the past” and learn “the amount of time required to process independent candidate petitions” and “the feasibility of temporarily hiring additional election workers.”

If the facts show that the state can manage to check the independent petitions without the need for a March 1 deadline, then that March 1 deadline will be unconstitutional.

The decision is 2-1. The dissenting judge argued that it is already obvious that the state can check independent candidate petitions even without a March 1 deadline. The majority decision is by Judge Roger Wollman, a Reagan appointee, and is signed by Judge Duane Benton, a Bush Jr. appointee. The dissent is by Judge Lavenski Smith, a Bush Jr. appointee.

Vox Carries Article Advocating Multi-Member Congressional Districts, Using Proportional Voting (April 26, 2017, 11:04 AM)

Vox has this article by Lee Drutman, in support of electing members of the U.S. House in multi-member districts and proportional voting. Thanks to Rick Hasen for the link.

Powerful Delaware State Senator Files Amendment to Primary Date Bill, to Force New Parties to Qualify by March (April 26, 2017, 09:57 AM)

Currently Delaware permits new parties to get on the ballot as late as August of election years. In Delaware, only the Democratic and Republican Parties nominate by primary; all other parties nominate by convention. Last month the Delaware House passed HB 89, moving the Delaware primary for all office from September to April, but the bill did not alter the deadline for newly-qualifying parties to get on the ballot or otherwise affect minor parties.

However, on April 25, Delaware Senator Margaret Rose Henry (D-Wilmington), the Senate Majority Leader, filed an amendment to the bill. It would force newly-qualifying parties to qualify by March, and require all minor parties to choose their non-presidential nominees no later than April. The amendment has not received a vote.

Working Families Party Wins Connecticut Special Legislative Election (April 25, 2017, 11:35 PM)

On April 25, Connecticut held a special election to fill the vacant State House seat, 7th district, in Hartford. The Working Families Party nominee, Joshua Hall, defeated his opponents. The vote by party: Working Families Party 625; Democratic 512; independent candidate 367. See this story.

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